Wednesday, 7 April 2010

The Children, Schools and Families Bill

Well, those who wish to denounce me as a dolt lacking in political acumen now have the perfect opportunity! I'm not sure what the Conservatives true motives were, but they have certainly managed to humiliate Ed Balls in the first few days of the election campaign, so perhaps that is sufficient motive in itself.

I suppose the real question which home educating parents will be considering now is whether having seen off this attempt to usurp their legitimate rights, as they see it, they will be able to relax for the next few years, safe in the knowledge that this particular issue has been dealt with and buried. Or will it be like a scene from one of those horror films like Halloween? You know the sort of thing, where the murderous monster is apparently dead, but as the soon as the heroine walks past, it returns to life and grabs her ankle. I suppose that for now, the euphoria will be enough for those who have fought so hard against these measures. It is hard under such circumstances not to feel that the whole business is now buried for good and the Graham Badman Report consigned to the dustbin of history!

I imagine that what most parents now will be hoping for is a return to the ante bellum status quo. In other words, that the situation which existed before January 2009 will simply be restored and that life for home educating families will be restored to 'normal'. The only problems here is that ideas are very hard to dispose of when once they have been aired so publicly. Whether you regard the Badman report as I did as a breath of fresh air, or as many others did as a foetid stench, it is likely to linger for some while. The interesting point will be to see what, if anything, the Conservatives do about home education, should they get in on May 6th. We already know that Labour's first action will be to reintroduce the Children, Schools and Families Bill in its full, unemasculated glory. Will the Tories really be able to resist the temptation of meddling themselves in the matter? We shall see.


  1. No one who fought the Bill is under any illusion that the issue is dead and buried, Simon. People are just better organised and empowered to deal with future attacks on HE now.

    'Dolt'? Have you been reading Beanos from the 50's again? LOL! You'll be calling yourself a 'clot' next.

    I don't think it demonstrated a lack of political acumen on your part to keep predicting the Bill would pass with HE clauses intact. It was a close thing. Perhaps what it did demonstrate is your lack of appreciation of how much opposition there was to the changes from within the HE community and of how prepared those people were to engage with their MP's about it.

    Mrs Anon

  2. The worrying thing is that no matter how much opposition had been expressed by us and how many MPs of any party had agreed with our views, if labour had not run out of time the Bill would have passed. Labour MPs spoke against the Bill and then voted to pass it. The whole whip system makes a mockery of representative democracy.

  3. Whatever the outcome of the election, it is pretty clear that the HE bits failed because they were a good sparring ground in the run upto the Election. Half the trouble the main parties have had of late is that many of their policies have become so similar that this was made into a suitable difference to make a song and dance about (just as the National Insurance rise was used in yesterday's politics. I suspect that today, it will be another issue.

    What happens next ? Well, if Labour do get back in, I am sure it will be "here we go again". Meanwhile the Lib dems have said they favour a registration scheme, and the Tories seem to think that "things will change" - all very vague; but I suspect that we may well be having this same debate in the months or years to come!

  4. It's not over anyway. If Labour win, then we're back to square one anyway.

  5. "Labour MPs spoke against the Bill and then voted to pass it. The whole whip system makes a mockery of representative democracy."

    I found the process very educational and also very depressing. Before this I had not appreciated quite how rigged the system was and how completely it is controlled by the ruling party. If they have a high enough majority debate is irrelevant. The main attraction for me in some system of proportional representation would be a reduction in such majorities, either that or the whip system needs to change. It should be possible for MPs to vote according to conscience.

  6. We won Julie i told you we would win Uncle Balls Lost home educators 1 Ed Balls?DCSF/LEA/Badman 0 LOL

    have a drink 2nite it friday party time

  7. We didn't win though, did we? The Bill just ran out of time.

  8. George Stewart9 April 2010 at 11:44

    Simon my heretical friend, a simple mea culpa mea culpa would have sufficed.

    New Labour will not, repeat not, be forming the next Government. Politics is a cycle and this cycle is just about done.

    I have no illusion on further meddling but alas it will have to be meddling which can be done at zero cost. Simon, you have forgotten that British Policy is now being made in the bond trading centers of the world, it is not being made in Parliament!!

    Before this year is out look for Contact Point to be abolished due to cost. Also look for the ID Card database to be abolished. Those are only a start.

    Something tells me that when the Ministers are fighting over Budget scarps along with Local Authorities, home education is not going to be more important than lets say teaching the already failing product in state schools.

    Cheers, GS

  9. We did win it does not matter how you win! Balls lost home educators won!